A Visit from the Conservators
We are lucky to have in the Society’s collection a large number of editions of the annually produced Victorian Municipal Directory.
In the days before the world wide web, these directories provided a snapshot of each municipality in the State including a brief description of the city, town or shire, its area and population, details of rates, the sitting councillors, the main council officers and transport links. They provide fascinating reading comparing how Port has changed year after year. For instance the 1925 edition lists railway, steamer and cable tramway as the transport links for Port Melbourne.
The directories were used as a reference within council and the majority of our collection covering 1909 to 1940 were used by our longest serving councillor James Peter Crichton and the covers are embossed with his name. Unfortunately 1913, 1915 and 1939 are missing from this collection but we also have a number of editions from the 1970s and 80s that were used by Cr Perce White.
As you can imagine the condition of these books vary greatly. They have been heavily used in the past and some are over 100 years old so recently the Society engaged Duncan and Tine Rolley to work on the set of directories as part of our on-going maintenance of our collection.
The Rolleys run Artifact Conservation, conservators of books and paper for over 25 years based in Kyneton. In July they visited our rooms to refurbish the books. Refurbishment is a preventative measure to help protect the books from suffering any further damage. It involves removing surface dirt and identifying items that require more detailed conservation work.
Conservation work can be expensive and refurbishment is a cost-effective way help maintain our collection. We are very grateful to the City of Port Phillip who encourage us to use a portion of the money we receive from them each year along with money from our own fundraising efforts to conserve items within our collection.
Following the publication we received the following from Duncan & Tine.
During the refurbishment for each volume we cleaned the covers, brushed out the entire textblock, repaired any major tears, re-adhered detached/lifted endpapers, consolidated lifted and scuffed leather on the spines and corners, and applied a museum quality leather dressing. Any volume that required a more detailed and extensive repair or conservation treatment was tied up with white cotton tape. This holds all the detached components together and enables easy detection of the damaged volumes.